Varaden D, King H, Rushton E & Barratt B (2021) Engaging primary students with the issue of air pollution through citizen science: lessons to be learnt. Journal of Emergent Science, (21), pp. 30-36. https://www.ase.org.uk/resources/journal-of-emergent-science/issue-21/original-research-engaging-primary-students-issue-of
This paper shares insights from an air quality research project that involved 258 primary school children aged between 5 and 11. The children attended a dedicated session led by scientists explaining the nature of air pollution. They then wore specially designed backpacks with built‐in air quality sensors during their commute to school for one week to measure air pollution. The generated data were used by scientists to determine children’s exposure to air pollution in and around their schools. To examine the children’s understanding of both air pollution and ways to reduce exposure, participating children completed surveys (pre‐ and post‐ the monitoring week). Interviews with ten teachers were conducted to help contextualise the survey findings. Our findings indicate that contributory citizen science projects constitute a valuable approach to engaging children in environmental education. We also note the importance of ensuring the active participation of teachers, particularly so that misconceptions are rapidly identified and thereafter addressed.
Air pollution; primary science; citizen science
Journal of Emergent Science, Issue 21